5 Bustle Editors Share What Ignited Their Conscious Beauty Shopping

Conscious beauty isn’t one size fits all: When it comes to making an informed decision about what products to buy and use, conscious means something different to everyone. Take our Bustle editors, whose unique viewpoints, backgrounds, and lifestyles all inform what kind of skin, hair, makeup, and wellness brands they opt for, from brands that are transparent about ingredients, packaging, and making a positive impact on communities to products that are vegan or cruelty-free. (More on that below!) It’s nuances like these that led to the making of Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty — the beauty retailer’s way of empowering customers with transparency and choice, two of the most important things when it comes to being a conscious beauty consumer. To take it a step further, Ulta Beauty has broken their Conscious Beauty program down into five pillars to make it even easier for you to find what you’re looking for. Here, more on each pillar from the POV of our discerning editors and why they resonate with them.

Clean Ingredients

What does it mean for a product to be clean? To be certified into the Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty program as having Clean Ingredients, products must be completely free of items on their Made Without List, which includes ingredients like parabens and formaldehyde.

Shyema, Senior Beauty Editor, Branded

“Once I got pregnant, it became increasingly important for me to look for clean ingredients in my beauty products — there are so many not recommended while you are expecting — and the habit has stuck with me today. I was very particular about limiting my exposure to phthalates, anything with hydroquinone, and preservatives like parabens while pregnant. I think a lot of times when people think ‘clean,’ they think less performance. I realized how untrue that is after testing so many luxurious formulations that are effective and work so well.”

Cruelty Free Beauty

Ulta Beauty’s cruelty-free offerings feature brands certified by Leaping Bunny, PETA, or Choose Cruelty-Free, meaning their ingredient suppliers and their manufacturers do not conduct testing on animals for cosmetic purposes.

Erin, Senior Beauty Editor

“I’ve always loved animals, but I recently adopted a puppy and it’s softened my heart even more! I feel it’s high time to care more about the planet, and animals are a crucial and irreplaceable part of the ecosystem. As a beauty editor, I’ve found plenty of amazing, high-quality brands that deliver amazing results that are both effective and formulated without impacting animals. Shopping for beauty can be overwhelming, so it’s great to have a category that does the sorting for you and includes products with the Leaping Bunny seal, which I trust.”

Vegan Beauty

Going vegan is usually associated with a lifestyle choice that refers to diet, but there are also vegan beauty products for those who are looking to skip formulations with animal byproducts. Products under this category include formulas created without animal products, byproducts, or derivatives like honey, beeswax, and lanolin.

Melissa, Executive Health Director

“I’ve been largely plant-based for about a decade now. I’m a fairly serious runner, and I swear eating vegan foods that are less inflammatory is what has helped me increase my mileage without getting injured. I even ran my first ultramarathon earlier this year! For that reason, I’m drawn to the idea of incorporating more vegan beauty products in my arsenal. I’m constantly shopping for more vegan beauty products to add to my routine that agree with my sensitive skin and round out my lifestyle.”

Sustainable Packaging

To be certified in the program as a sustainable packaging brand, at least 50% of the brand’s total packaging must be made from recycled or bio-sourced materials or be recyclable or refillable.

Bianca, Beauty Contributor

“When I took my first international trip to Havana, Cuba in 2019, I went snorkeling and could see the plastic bags and debris from the land below me on the beautiful coral reefs. Since that experience, I have made it my mission to research and invest in products that offer sustainable packaging because it’s a simple thing I can do to help impact the world around me. I know the environmental issues we’re facing are enormous, but each time I choose to support brands that are making their products refillable or offering biodegradable packaging, I feel like I’m doing my part in a small way. I’m realizing it’s the little things that can make a big impact on the environment.”

Positive Impact

Brands that go the extra mile deserve their own spotlight. Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty highlights those who make a positive impact by giving back through donation programs or community involvement.

Faith, Executive Beauty Director

“I’ve worked in the beauty industry for over 10 years, and it’s been incredible to see how much good the industry can do — but also the responsibility it holds. I believe that any brand with a platform has the responsibility to give back in some way. A purpose-driven brand has the power to greatly impact the lives and conditions of marginalized communities, our environment, and more. A donation, whether monetary or even just products, can make all the difference in the world for someone else.”

*The opinions expressed are those of Bustle editors and are not made by Ulta Beauty.